Great Britain

Campaigners launch second petition to challenge ‘historic’ Regent’s Canal gasholder plans

The Bethnal Green gasholders, reflected in the Regent's Canal. Picture: The Gentle Author

The Bethnal Green gasholders, reflected in the Regent's Canal. Picture: The Gentle Author

The Gentle Author

Campaigners have launched a second petition in a bid to thwart a developer's plans to build flats inside a Victorian historic gasholder.

Bethnal Green No 2 gasholder taken by Malcolm Tucker in 1973Bethnal Green No 2 gasholder taken by Malcolm Tucker in 1973

Heritage campaigner Tom Ridge, of the East End Waterway Group (EEWG), has so far gathered signatures from almost 500 people objecting to St William Homes' updated bid to build flats inside one of the structures near the Regent's Canal.

The property developer originally wanted flats inside one of the two gasholders, known as numbers two and five, but now wants homes inside both.

Tom said: "London was the birthplace of the gas industry so we had all the best designed and most innovative gasholders in the world. There are very few of them left now.

"They were a characteristic part of the Victorian townscape. We need to retain the authenticity and integrity of the oldest surviving gas holders in the world."

Local historian Tom Ridge campaigning to save East End's heritage. Picture: Mike BrookeLocal historian Tom Ridge campaigning to save East End's heritage. Picture: Mike Brooke

Number two's columnar guide frame was built in 1865-66 while its neighbour's lattice frame - dating back to 1888 - is one of the few surviving examples of its type built by Samuel Cutler & Sons of Millwall, Tom said.

Campaigners fear that to build inside, the guide frames would have to be dismantled, risking damage.

You may also want to watch:

They want them left in situ and the building work to take place without moving them.

Local historian Tom Ridge campaigning to save East End's heritage. Picture: Mike BrookeLocal historian Tom Ridge campaigning to save East End's heritage. Picture: Mike Brooke

Number two's "brittle" cast iron columns and pedestals would be especially threatened by a move, while a building inside it would cast a shadow over the Regent's Canal, EEWG believes.

Its first petition urged St William Homes to abandon plans to demolish number two's guide frame altogether.

Alison Dowsett, St William Homes managing director, said: "We recognise the interest and significance of the gasholder structures. Following extensive engagement with the community our proposals, which have now been submitted to Tower Hamlets, include the retention of both gasholders.

"The proposed redevelopment will celebrate the area's unique character and open up this currently inaccessible space, providing much needed new homes - including affordable - jobs and 1.75 acres of public open space."

Bethnal Green No 2 gasholder taken by Malcolm Tucker in 1973Bethnal Green No 2 gasholder taken by Malcolm Tucker in 1973

She added the plans provide public access to the site and a "substantial" stretch of the canal for the first time in 150 years.

A detailed methodology for refurbishing the structures put together by a team of specialists will be produced and submitted for approval once planning permission has been granted and before work starts.

The petition can be found at change.org

Football news:

The Agent Of Gareth Bale: In real Life, Gareth was treated differently. I hope there will be no question of a return
Micah Richards: People write: Richards only works live because of BLM. I achieved this through hard work
The former Director of Barca: Martino said Messi: I know that if you call the President, he will throw me out
Liverpool are in contact with Mbappe's entourage and will compete for him with Real Madrid next summer
Carragher on de Bruyne: Next after Messi and Ronaldo. This is the best player in the Premier League
Morata arrived in Turin. He goes to Juve on loan
Barcelona wanted to buy Tiago before he moved to Liverpool. Catalans were ready to pay 10 million euros